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Special Collections: Guide to Charles Edwin Allen Papers

Collection title: Charles Edwin Allen Papers
Collection number: MS 8
Provenance: Received from Maine State Museum, Augusta, ME in 1983
Dates of collection: 1852-1982 (inclusive); 1867-1911 (bulk)
Size of collection: 1 record carton
Restrictions on access and use: Kept at Fogler Library's offsite storage facility. One week's notice required for retrieval.


Charles Edwin Allen was born in Sanford, Maine, on October 26, 1839. After attending the Standish Academy and the seminary at New Hampton Academy [Institute?] in New Hampshire, he moved to Dover, New Hampshire, and became a printer's apprentice for the Morning Star, a Free Baptist newspaper. In 1861 he enlisted in the First Rhode Island Cavalry, serving for about a year before being discharged because of injuries received during the war.

After leaving the military, he worked as a compositor for the Eastern Argus in Portland, Maine, and then was employed by the Boston Journal and later the Riverside Press in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He also worked as a bookkeeper and cashier for H.O. Houghton and Co. In 1874 he moved to Dresden, Maine, and thereafter spent time collecting material for his book History of Dresden, Maine: formerly a part of the old town of Pownalborough, from its earliest settlement to the year 1900, nearly ready for publication at the time of his death in 1911 and finally published in 1931. He also wrote articles for newspapers and journals and was a member of several historical societies, contributing articles of local historical interest to them.

Allen was active in various progressive causes and was a strong advocate for free trade. He was a member of the Cambridge Typographical Union and joined the Knights of Labor in 1886, serving as an official in the Maine organization. He served as a Republican member of the Maine state legislature in 1883 and ran on the Democratic ticket for Congress in 1888 and 1890, being defeated both times by Republican candidate Nelson Dingley, Jr. In 1894 he joined the People's Party and was its candidate for Congress from the second district.

Charles Allen married Elizabeth M. Young of Phippsburg, Maine, in 1861. He died in Dresden, Maine, on October 29, 1911.

Scope and Content Note

The collection consists mostly of letters written to Charles Allen between 1867 and 1911 by friends, business associates, political and labor figures, and those interested in local history. The letters are arranged chronologically with correspondent, place from which the letters were written and dates indicated for each. They are a mix of business and personal letters with many centering on Allen's work with the Riverside Press and H.O. Houghton & Company in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Others were written by people interested in his local history writings or his involvement with various labor organizations and progressive causes. Of particular interest is a scrapbook of letters labeled "Valuable letters and papers, 1852-1909" that includes letters from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Joshua L. Chamberlain, William Dean Howells, John D. Long, William Lloyd Garrison and Frank J. Garrison, among others.

The collection also contains correspondence, pamphlets and leaflets from various labor organizations with which Allen was associated including the Cambridge Typographical Union, the Boston Typographical Union and the Knights of Labor. A biographical sketch written in 1982 by Charles A. Scontras, Maine labor historian, is also included.

Box List

Box 1

Correspondence to Charles Edwin Allen


1 John Stone and John Clark, Riverside Press, 1867-1875

2 Ed. M. Tucker, 1867-1875

3 W.S. Holbrook, Hurd and Houghton, Publishers and Booksellers, 1868

4 Charles H. Horton, Dover, 1869-1872

5 Lewis C. Breed, Hoyt, Fogg & Breed, Portland, 1870

6 H. Maxfield, Waterford, 1870

7 George P. Stephens, Cambridge, Waterford, 1870-1871

8 Frank J. Garrison, Roxbury, Boston, 1870-1889

9 Ed Reed, Springvale, 1870-1887

10 S.L. Goodale, State of Maine, Office of Secretary of Board of Agriculture, 1871

11 Rev. I.M. Bedell, Lynn, Mass., 1872

11a Richard Green, Cambridge, 1872

12 H.R. Gibbs, Lee, Mass., 1873

13 James Hondlette, Dresden, 1873

14 J.H. & J.P. Thayer & Co., Painting, Glazing & Papering, Cambridgeport, 1873

15 George F. Barden, Dover, 1873

16 Orrin McFadden, Wiscasset, ME, 1873-1883

17 William L. Gross, Springfield, Ill., 1874

18 Charles F. Multoon, Boston, 1874

19 Leander M. Hannum, dealer in fine groceries, Cambridgeport, 1874-1884

19a Charles F. Coolidge, Riverside Press, 1874-1886

20 H.O. Houghton, Riverside Press, 1875-1882

21 George B. Sawyer, Isaac T. Hobson, Wiscasset, 1877; History of Gahan Road

22 J.G. Thurgood, Cambridge; Lisbon, ME, 1877-1878

23 Alex. Johnston, Wiscasset, 1877-1880

24 James Wilson, Riverside Press, 1878

25 Sarah J. Broad, Thornton, NH, 1880

26 S.H. Long, Bennington, NH, 1880

27 C.C. Nason, Chicago, 1880

28 D.C. Shepherd, Gardiner, ME, 1880-1882

29 John H. Bazin, New York, 1881-1882

30 W.J. Sullivan, Riverside Press, 1883

31 Albion Bailey, Portland and Saco, ME, 1883-1884

32 Charles E. Haskell, Topsham, 1884

33 L.A. Whittier, Riverside Press, 1886

34 W.E. Slayton, Calais, ME, 1886

35 R.R. Bowker, American Free Trade League, New York, 1886-1887

36 David A. Wells, Norwich, Conn., 1886-1888

37 E.C. Allen, Augusta, ME, 1888-1889

38 C.F. Perry, Quincy, Ill., 1888-1889

39 Wm. T. Croasdale, Single Tax Enrolment Committee, New York, 1889

40 Everett Glackin, New York Typographical Union No. 6, New York, 1889

41 Lewis Howland, The People's Cause: A Journal of Tariff Reform, Ballot Reform, Civil Service Reform, New York, 1889

42 J.C. Vallette, Norwich, Conn., 1889

43 M.C. O'Brien, Bangor, ME, 1891

44 John Codman, 2nd, Wm. C. Codman & John Codman, 2d, Real Estate and Mortgage Brokers, Boston, 1896

45 Hannah V. Sewall, Old Town, ME, 1896

46 George F. Hoar, United States Senate; Edw. C. Goodwin, Secretary to Sen. Hoar, Washington, D.C., 1900

47 J.L. Bristow, Fourth Assistant Postmaster General, Post Office Dept., Washington, D.C., 1904

48 J.N. Penney, Mechanic Falls, ME, 1908

49 Wm. H. McDonald, Eastern Argus Publishing Co., Portland, ME, 1909

50 A.S. Goodwin, Fitchburg, Mass., 1909 [1904?]

51 Charles A. Holden, Sedgwick, ME, 1910

52 Mrs. Frank H. Cote, Dresden, ME, 1911

53 Henry O. Thayer, New York, NY, 1911

54 E.C. Hibbard, Boston, 1911

55 Benjamin F. Dexter, undated

56 Scrapbook: Valuable letters and papers, 1852-1909; includes letters from John P. Hale, H.W. Longfellow, Joshua L. Chamberlain, John D. Long. Wm. D. Howells, W.L. Garrison, F.J. Garrison, George H. Mifflin, Charles Walker, Henry George, Bishop Codman, John C. Perkins, Cambridge Typographical Union

57 Invitations: Boston Eight Hour League, 1872-1873; Cambridge Woman Suffrage Association, undated; Second Radical Club, undated

58 Correspondence, leaflets, etc.: Cambridge Typographical Union, Portland Typographical Union, Boston Typographical Union, 1864, 1884

59 Scrapbook: Knights of Labor materials, 1887-1891

60 Miscellaneous publications

61 Charles Edwin Allen: A Sketch by Charles A. Scontras, [1982]


Finding Aids for selected manuscript collections in the Special Collections Department at Fogler Library are accessible online in URSUS, in a browsable Guide to Manuscript Collections. Please contact Special Collections at or (207) 581-1686 for further information.

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Special Collections Staff: | Revised: 03/17/2015
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